Claressa Shields

Marlen Esparza Outclasses Shelly Barnett in Flint, Mich.; Jamie Mitchell Stops Noemi Bosques in the 5th

All photos by Sylvia Jones/ILE Photography
Bantamweights Marlen Esparza and Jamie Mitchell pick up impressive wins on the Shields-Dicaire undercard in bouts that streamed live on Fite TV Pay-Per-View

Flint, MICH. (March 5, 2021) — Several fighters signed up to participate in HERstory being made in Flint, Mich., with three-division champion Claressa Shields‘ bid to make history becoming boxing’s only two-division undisputed championship. The 25-year old unified champion – a three-division champion in 10 fights – took on undefeated IBF champion Marie-Eve Dicaire in the main event. The Salita promoted bout took place at the Dort Federal Event Center, and streamed on Fite TV for a Pay-Per-View at $29.95.

Chief among the guests was Shields’ 2012 Olympic teammate Marlen Esparza. Esparza was actually the first American female to qualify for the Olympics. She went on to win a bronze medal as a flyweight at the London games.

As a professional the Houston native is one of the few women signed to Oscar De La Hoya‘s Golden Boy Promotions. Tonight in Flint she faced Shelly Barnett in the opening bout of Shields’ Super Welterweight undisputed championship bout versus IBF champion Marie-Eve Dicaire.

Esparza (9-1, 1 KO) seized control of the fight from the first bell. Her legs allowed her to move in, then out and then away after landing short bursts of punches against Barnett (4-4-2). Barnett, 37-years old, is originally from Toronto, Canada but lives and trains in Chicago, Ill. Her face was reddened by the end of the first round, and showed more damage as the fight moved into Round 2.

Barnett engaged more late in the third, and tried to pick up her tempo in the fourth round. However, she failed to ever match Esparza’s skills and ring IQ. But she gutted out the last three rounds as the Olympian encountered little trouble en route to unanimous scorecards of 60-54, 60-53, and 60-53. Over the course of the bout’s six rounds, Esparza landed 35.8 percent of her punches to 16.8 percent for Barnett, amassing a 126-49 lead in total landed punches.

The win moves Esparza a step closer to a WBC Bantamweight title fight, being put together, versus champion Yulihan Luna (20-3-1, 3 KOs).

In another six-round Bantamweight bout, Jamie Mitchell (6-0-2, 4 KOs) faced Noemi Bosques (12-16-3, 2 KOs). Mitchell started the fight attacking. After establishing her jab she rocked Bosques, in the middle of the ring, with a short set of crips hooks just before the end of the first minute.

Bosques continued to wait in Round 2. She flicked her jab, but mainly from a half-step too far away for it to be effective. Mitchell continued move forward and bang through the St. Petersburg, Fla. native’s high guard.

Mitchell, a four-year professional originally from Southern Calif., continued to walk down Bosques in Round 3. The action stayed in the center of the ring for most of Round 4, Mitchell inched her way forward and exploded into short flurries out of her shoulder roll defense. The result was another rough frame for the 37-year old from Florida.

Mitchell attacked Bosques fiercely in Round 5. She scored with several wide shots. Bosques legs buckled a number of times. Having watched Bosques fail to put together any semblance of an offense for well over a minute, with 11 seconds left in the round, White grabbed the fighters mid-flurry and halted the bout for good.

Also In Action

Timur Kerefov, an undefeated southpaw Middleweight from Shalushka, Russia, put his pristine 10-0 record on the line versus Manny Woods of St. Petersburg, Fla. Kerefov patiently pressured the 33-year old Woods (16-10, 6 KOs) through the two opening rounds. Woods ended the second frame with a serious cut above his left eye.

After being examined by the ringside physician to open Round 3, Woods opened the round with an elevated sense of urgency. Shortly into the round Woods began to show signs of his vision being affected by the eye – the cut was close to the bridge of the nose. Referee Gerard White stopped the bout for a second examination of the eye. The physician instructed the White to stop the fight.

Kerefov, a Kronk Gym pupil, improved to 11-0 with his sixth stoppage. At the time the bout was stopped the Russian held a commanding 80-17 advantage in landed punches, plus a 24-7 lead in punches to the body. The technical knockout was Woods’ sixth fight, in his last seven, to be lost inside the distance.

This post originally appeared on Bite Down Boxing

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